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FOOD VAN

For over 15 years Kehilat Nitzan has been running a food van which provides meals and social connection for the disadvantaged. The food van began outside the Gatwick in Fitzroy Street using a van from Sacred Heart mission and worked with Henry Ser under the direction of Josh Arzt.

7 years ago we partnered with the Father Bob Foundation and began using their van the "Hope Mobile" serving meals on a Tuesday evening at a park in Port Melbourne. We set up long trestle tables and chairs and offer delicious casseroles and salads all cooked by our volunteers either in their homes or at shul under the direction of Pam Gelfand. 

At the park our volunteers could sit and chat with our guests and the evening became one big community meal. Many of the guests live alone and do not work and may not have spoken to anyone for days. So our evenings gave them a chance to feel connected to a community and to each other, and to come and share their week with others.

During Covid in 2020 the food van ramped up. Because we could no longer gather in the park, volunteers headed up by Gersh Zuker walked the streets and personally hand delivered delicious protein packed sandwiches, frittata, baked sweets and fruit to the homeless in the St Kilda area. Our volunteer providers all worked at home during lockdown cooking and preparing the food. Gersh also hand delivered to rooming houses and support accommodation in the area.

Post Covid we have moved to our new location at Alma Park in East St Kilda so we can continue to serve those we were helping during Covid with whom we had built up strong connections. We have many regulars coming from nearby rooming houses and some young guests have joined up who live at the surrounding mental health support homes. About a third of the guests are Jewish.

Gersh continues to offer a daytime service also on Tuesdays where he delivers to those on the streets in St Kilda as well as into rooming houses.

The food van has also teamed up with NCJW and is involved with their Golden Age program particularly with those elderly Jewish Russian residents living in Inkerman Street Housing. In 2020 we dropped off food packs and hampers and also activity bags for the residents while they could not go out over lockdown. We also made some wonderful gift bags for Rosh Hashanah and also Chunakah. These bags were all beautifully hand painted by Odile Ellison and jam packed with home made edible treats as well as gifts and activities like colouring books and quizzes translated into Russian. In 2021 we hosted 30 of the residents at Shul with a model Seder run by Rabbi Sadoff. They were were delighted with and very moved by the service. We plan to hold regular afternoon teas for them in Inkerman Street and also to host them again for Succot at Shul.

Please contact Deb Korman on 0418 559 800 if you are interested in joining the food van. We love having new volunteers. It is a very special team. ❤️            

Mon, 20 September 2021 14 Tishrei 5782